Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

It was my 29th birthday dinner, and my good friend Jessica (vegan) was in attendance. I jokingly told her that since she was a vegan, I assumed all she could have for dinner was pencil shavings and a glass of tepid water. Insensitive? Yes. Funny?  Somewhat. Now it seems, the joke is on me.

After stumbling upon the PETA website last August, I made the decision to become a more ethical consumer. I was horrified by the cruelty of factory farming, and wanted to make an impact. I told my brother of my decision, and he shared a terrible story of how the farm hands at a particular poultry plant stick their fingers inside the birds’ vaginas as they go up the kill chute.  No, I decided, I definitely didn’t want to eat anything that had been finger banged before it ended up on my plate. And if you think I am being gross, try watching Meet Your Meat. That’s really gross.

This decision presented a bit of a challenge for me for several reasons. Number one, I am a gourmet enthusiast. I delight in trying new foods. Obscure goats milk cheese that’s only produced 3 months of the year in Spain? I want it. A poached egg infused with truffle oil? Sign me up. I once tracked down a famous fois gras eatery in Montreal simply because I had heard about their coveted Duck In A Can.

The other concerns I had were how my lifestyle choice would impact my friends and family. In my family, food is the focus of family gatherings. We are all very good cooks, and we like to cook and boast of our culinary prowess. Would I become stigmatized? Would I be gnawing judgmentally on a carrot at thanksgiving dinner, while my family feasted on turkey and urged me to give up my hippie-like notions of saving the world one chicken at a time?

In the end, my instincts won me over. I knew in my heart I didn’t want to support the factory farming industry. I also knew that my body was telling me it was time for a change. For the last year or so, I had been feeling drained, heavy, and lethargic. I didn’t have the energy I used to. My skin had lost its glow, and even after a full night of sleep I didn’t feel refreshed. I felt old, thick and loaded with toxins.

So, let’s fast forward to the present. I have spent the last month transitioning out of eating meat into lacto-ovo-pescatarianism. I’ve been keeping eggs, dairy and seafood in my diet, as I don’t believe in making drastic lifestyle changes. I also don’t want this transition to be a negative experience, or else I know I will not be able to sustain it in the long run.

The next step for me is to become promiscuous with the habits of my vegan friends. I will be opening my life to the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and documenting my foils along the way.  I’m also vowing to see this phase of my life as an exploration of what I can gain from eating as a vegan, instead of what I’m losing by not eating animal products.

Who is Jenny Duffy?  Click here to find out!

~The Vegan Project

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Cate during her visit to beautiful BC.

Day 2 of veganism! Well, doing this challenge has really “challenged” me to stop and think about all of the foods that we consume regularly. It is virtually impossible to find good, healthy, unpreserved, chemical-free everyday food. I usually have always read the labels, but now I’m disecting them! I’m feeling really good about all of the organic, natural foods that I’ve been eating so far and I’m thinking this may be a whole new way of life for me, especially looking at all of the yummy vegan/vegitarian recipes out there.

So, today I enjoyed a wonderful almond milk, mixed-berry & banana smoothie with Vital Greens & flax oil for breakfast. I usually have a protien shake in the mornings, but this time, I eliminated the whey protien powder and it was still really tasty.  I must say that I am taking supplements to make sure nothing is missed.  After I made my sandwhich for lunch, packed it up and put it in the fridge at work, I couldn’t wait to eat it!  It was roasted tofurkey on my “Stonemill Bakehouse” sprouted grains bread with veganaise, spinach, avocado, tomatoes & salt /pepper.  It was really great and very filling.  Snacks consisted of almonds as well as celery with peanut butter – yum.

Dinner was a real treat – my friend came over and she brought with her a platter of fresh fruit, which was her “vegan dessert” I had asked for – perfect.  She also surprised me with a bag of HUGE zuchinni’s, small cucumbers & a few small green peppers – all grown in her own garden and she assured me there were no pesticides used and even the earth was from an organic farm! She gets many gold stars for this, God bless her.  We enjoyed our Tofurkey keilbasa dogs, sans buns (watching our weight) and because silly me forgot to buy potatoes, we had brown rice & a great salad.  She really enjoyed the whole thing and was saying how her husband is dying to go Vegan, so he may be the next Ontarian challenge!!  Oh, I purchased some Agave Nectar from the “Vitamin Store” today & used it in place of honey to make my salad dressing (which I usually put honey in) and now I’m hooked on that stuff.  I even used some of it in my tea tonight.

I have also been thinking about how much the world has changed with all of our fast food and “instant gratification” everything. Here in Ontario, we all seem to be doing 100 miles per hour (161 km/hr) and in order to accommodate that we have forgotten the simple things, like growing our own veggies and enjoying a home made meal. Looking at all of the foods I’m eating this week, it reminds me of when I was a kid and these were pretty much all of the items we had to eat, well maybe not the tofu, but certainly none of the pre-packaged, zap-it-in-the-microwave crap that we all eat now. It just makes sense to slow things down and get back to the way it should be.  You folks out in beautiful B.C. seem to have grasped this long ago, or maybe you just never sped up to this “mid-coast” speed – nor should you.

Day 3 – here I come!

~Cate Baldwin

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The Product: Veggie Patch brand Meatless Buffalo Wings (looks like a chicken nugget) Simulated Chicken.  Contains No Poultry. 0 trans fats per 80 gram serving.

Knowing the transition into veganism would be a great challenge for me, someone who is rail thin and has the metabolism of a humming bird and an appetite of a voracious pack of wolves, I purchased these simulated chicken nuggets to get me through the times of cravings I knew I would experience.  After yesterday’s outburst which Jesse touched on and I choose not to comment on but will blame on meat withdrawls or perhaps detoxing, I grabbed these bad boys from the freezer and deep fried them in olive oil and served them with some sweet chili sauce for a satisfying junk food snack.  Then I got to reading the ingredients list… Dry egg whites were listed twice!  First in the ‘chicken mixture’ and second in the batter ingredients.  It also said it contains dairy which I could not identify any sort of dairy item in the ingredients list.  I understand the power of marketing and how packaging influences a consumers buying decisions but labeling something as “meatless” and specifically stating ” CONTAINS NO POULTRY” when it has EGGS  listed twice in the ingredients list made me a bit pissed off.  Their tricky packaging made me cheat the diet and it wasn’t even a worth while cheat at that.

It really opened my eyes to how difficult it must be for someone with egg allergies to go out and purchase any processed products if this STILL contained eggs.  I’ve very glad that this diet is a choice for me and not a neccessity as there are so many restrictions and not a lot of great products on the market yet.

The Verdict: Veggie Patch brand Meatless Buffalo Wings – I give you 3 stars out of 5 at achieving a simulated texture and flavor of a chicken nugget, and a negative 5 stars and a f*** you to your big fat liar packaging.

Janine Jankowski

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Bunch of organic asparagus $4.66

Large white onion (not organic) $1.81

Organic fresh basil $2.29

Knorr* Vegetable broth 900 ml $2.24

Total: $11

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Bay leaf

Fresh cracked pepper

No salt needed

*I used this brand because it was on sale at IGA and I’m on a budget and it’s 2 dollars cheaper than an organic alternative. It does have a fairly high sodium content (30% per cup) & Lycopene? Obviously if you want to use homemade it’ll be even better!

Sautee chopped onion and asparagus for about 25 minutes or until soft with a bit of colour.  Add carton of vegetable stock, bay leaf and cracked pepper and bring to boil.Then reduce and simmer 10 more minutes.  Take off the heat, remove the bay leaf and ladle into your blender.  Toss in 5 large torn basil leaves and blend the sh*% out of it…seriously a long time.  Comes out blissfully green and smooth…so decadent and it only cost me $11!  I really hope everyone makes this soup 🙂


The Vegan Project

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Puttering through the kitchen looking for something to make for lunch so I don’t have to venture out on this dreary Vancouver afternoon…

Decided to cook some long grain brown rice.  Have some left over veggies and a can of artichokes to  throw on top.  Need a sauce….

This is what I came up with and it is SO GOOD!

1/2 cup cashews

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup water

4 cloves garlic

1 cup or more of fresh spinach

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (raw un-sulphered)

1 teaspoon raw vegan parm (found at karmavore, nutritional yeast would sub fine though)

Lots of cracked pepper

Generous pinch of sea salt

Blend until nice and creamy. Simple, delicious and raw!  I’m drizzling it on top of brown rice, canned artichokes, yellow pepper, cucumber and more chopped spinach. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for little extra Vitamin B1 or Thiamine, natural mood booster. Enjoy!


The Vegan Project

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Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a dear friend Steve’s Cucumber & Fennel Salad combined with a Shepherd’s Pie recipe found here (i’ve renamed it ‘gardener’s pie’):  http://www.ivu.org/recipes/main/lentil-shepherds.html (I definitely added mushrooms-about 2 cups chopped portobellos, mixed frozen veggies and lots of fresh thyme. Also added Tofutti cream cheese to make the potatoes extra creamy, and a few dashes of hot sauce in the lentil mixture)

Garnished with paprika and fresh thyme sprigs.

I decided to pair this comforting dish with something light and fresh.  I was reminded of my friend Steve’s Cucumber & Fennel salad and knew it would be perfect!  It’s simple and flexible:

1 Fennel bulb w/ tops thinly sliced and about 1 cup of the tops chopped

1 long english cucumber thinly sliced on diagonal

2 lemons juiced and zested

about 1 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Now just layer….cucumber, fennel, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/2 of the olive oil, some fennel tops and salt and pepper.

Repeat and then let it sit for a bit and enjoy!

The zest really makes this dish-don’t skip!

Love The Vegan Project  xo

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I recently spent some time down in Los Angeles sunning, celebrity spotting and ‘pigging’ out on everything VEGAN!  I knew before I went that there was going to be a lot of options. I did some research on happycow.com & yelp.com  and got some great tips from some of our twitter followers, but man oh man was I blown away!  Not only are there tons of %100 vegan restaurants (mexican/thai/ethiopian/westcoast/soulfood/diner etc.) , there are veggie restaurants with vegan options, as well as a vegan options available on otherwise carnivorous menus.  I dragged my LA pals around to as many as I could get to, and also returned to many a few times over because they were so yum.

Here are some of my favourites:

Swinger’s Diner

My first stop when I landed was Swinger’s Diner with Sage, where we met Fletcher for a late night snack.  I was unfortunately stuffed from munching before and during the flight (travelling makes me hungry), so I just ordered the Hardcore soy shake w/ peanut butter while drooling over Fletcher’s Tofu Chilaquiles.  I vowed to return at a later date to give them a try myself, which I did and they were awesome!  Other items that were tried: The Vegan Cobb and the Veggie Burger, both delicious.

Swinger’s is a super cool diner with no frills service, lots of booths and a juke box housing sweet tunes.  I may be biased as I have a penchant for diners and sitting in booths.  Love booths.

No Pics, just memories…

Real Food Daily

Ann Gentry, founder of Real Food Daily, is a genius! She has two locations in Los Angeles plus a bakery attached to the Santa Monica location.  Ray-ray, Sage and I stopped by the one in West Hollywood for an all-vegan lunch after hiking the Runyun and doing outdoor yoga (such an LA morning).  We all ordered the monthly feature, Mexico City tacos, and started with Nori Maki. Ray thought the maki tasted like cardboard, and Sage wasn’t impressed either.  I liked it, but it maybe could have used a bit more zing.  The tacos however were divine!

Mexico City Tacos accompanied by jicama slaw, rice, and salad (Monthly Feature)

A few days later, Sage and I picked up some food to-go.  I ordered the TV Dinner, super yum with veggies, loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy.  The peanut butter cookies were so delicious and buttery.  Also, the double chocolate cupcakes left me speechless!

Real Food Daily has a really fresh feel to it.  They make espresso, and switch up the menu with daily/weekly/monthly features.  I picked up a copy of Ann’s cookbook and can’t wait to share!

A Taste of Life

I knew about A Taste of Life beforehand from reading Quarry Girl’s review of their Breakfast Biscuit available at the Hollywood Farmer’s market on Sundays from 8am-1pm.  Jay, Chad and I hit the road bright and early from Laguna Beach to make sure we didn’t miss out (thanks guys :).  Jay and I each scarfed one back.  Unfortunately Chad’s tofu allergy prevented him from having a bite.  They were tasty when sprinkled with creole spice mix!

We strolled the market and it made me wish I could bring fruits and veggies across the border.  Then I remembered that it’s Vancouver Farmer’s Market time.  See you there!

Flore Vegan

Located in Silverlake/Los Feliz, Flore Vegan is a delightful vegan deli/cafe with funny hipster waiters.  Chad I went there after snoozing in his car one morning in the hills (long story), and I immediately fell in love.  We started with a Grapefruit and Kale Tonic which I made again this morning and highly recommend.  Then chad had the Tabouli Wrap and I had a Veggie Quesadilla with cashew cheese and tempeh bacon.

Tabouli Wrap

It’s cute and tiny with a few tables on the sidewalk, prime real estate for star-gazing and hipster grazing. They also have a deli case with salads and braised tofu to-go.

Just down the street is Intelligentsia which arguably serves the best coffee south of Seattle.  No vegan pastries though so fill your belly at Flore first!

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I had to take a piece before I took the picture, I was so excited!

I really felt like some oozy, gooey homemade lasagna today.  So, I defrosted a block of Daiya and popped over to IGA to pick up some ingredients (I’m pretty sure I saw Lou Diamond Phillips picking up a few things as well!)

This is what i picked up: whole wheat lasagna noodles, spinach, crimini mushroooms, can of artichokes, can of whole tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, spanish onion, cashews, firm tofu, 2 lemons, and an avocado (completely irrelevant).

Here’s what I came up with (the cashew ricotta is straight out of  Veganomicon, the rest my head).

Marinara Sauce

1 medium spanish onion finely chopped

2 cloves of chopped garlic

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

cracked black pepper

generous pinch of cayenne pepper

1 14oz can of whole tomatoes

1 small can of tomato paste

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp  dried oregano

Heat oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat.  Saute onions with salt for about 5 min.  Stir in garlic, basil, oregano, cracked pepper and cayenne.  Stir in small can of tomato paste and fill that same can with water and mix that in as well.  Open can of whole tomatoes and squeeze through your fingers with your hands into the saucepan.  Bring to bubbly boil, reduce to low and let simmer while you prepare the other parts of the lasagna.

Cashew Ricotta

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 lb firm tofu, drained and crumbled

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp dried basil

My addition: 1 cup of grated Daiya

Combine first 4 ingredients in food processor. puree to thick paste. Add tofu and blend until smooth.  Blend in salt and basil.  Add grated Daiya to the ricotta mixture.

Sauteed Mushrooms, Artichokes and Spinach

10 crimini mushrooms, chopped

1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped

4 cups of spinach

pinch of sea salt

cracked black pepper

1 tbs extra vigin olive oil
Saute mushrooms in olive oil at medium high heat with salt until water is evaporated.  Stir in artichokes and spinach and cracked pepper til spinach wilts.  Turn off heat.

Ok, time to assemble…

In a rectangle pan spread a layer of sauce on the bottom, then a layer of noodles, then more sauce.  Spread on half the of the ricotta mixture (kinda tricky but do your best), then half of the mush/art/spin mixture.  Repeat.  Top with a third layer of noodles, the rest of the sauce and grate about 1 cup, maybe 2 cups of Daiya on top.  Sprinkle with dried parsley, cause it’s pretty, cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand until you can’t wait any longer and ta-da!
Photos courtesy of my macbook photo booth. Not bad.

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Vegan Clauss with Biba and Bridget @ Kisha Popo on Davie.

I really appreciate Bridget for inviting me for the “Vegan Experience” for a week. I love new challenges, and I always try to learn new things to grow as a person. I am sure that this diet which I have been doing will help me a lot with my future eating habits.I have been learning a lot with this diet as well as feeling good. I noticed that this diet made me eat less with much more balanced meals than before.

I decided to extend my diet with Briget from one week to a month, and I am excited to see the changes that I will go through until then. I cannot wait to know how much I will learn at the end of this experience.

Bridget, thank you so much for all the support in my “Vegan Experience” for a week and now for a month.

I Love you!!!

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The first day I felt hungry but on the second and third day I ate less than what I am used to and I felt well.  However, I started to go more often to the bathroom and I noticed an increase of gases in my stomach.

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